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JP Morgan Upgrades Gen-Probe

JP Morgan upgrades Gen-Probe Inc. (GPRO) to overweight.

Analyst Tycho W. Peterson says that after yesterday's announced deal with F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., Gen-Probe delivered another impressive quarter, with strong Aptima, Tigris, and ProCleix sales fueling the upside.

He notes the company's 23 fourth-quarter earnings per share topped his 20 cents estimate, and fourth-quarter revenues of $68.5 million beat his $62.9 million estimate.

Also, with 2005 guidance pegged at a "reasonable level", he upgrades company from neutral, citing continued strength in its core franchise, its healthy pipeline, and its 18% discount in valuation.

Peterson maintains his $1.20 2005 earnings per share estimate, but ups his 2005 revenue estimate to $292.8 million from $290.2 million. He sees $1.58 2006 earnings per share.

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